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Terminators: Wordplays for Ideas & Insights

Asylum by the Sea

Asilomar is famous to biotechnologists as the site of a conference in 1975 initiated by researchers to resolve issues of the safety of experiments using recombinant DNA techniques. "Asilomar" is a word coined about 90 years ago in a contest to name the conference center, then a YWCA facility. The Spanish word 'asilo' is officially translated as "refuge" and 'mar' as "sea." Thus Asilomar is "refuge by the sea." It's interesting to note that 'asilo' is translated as "refuge" rather than as its cognate "asylum." Asylum has the bad connotation of "insane asylum" although "political asylum" is usually viewed as a good thing.


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